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Owning-up time: Who here cried when Gandalf fell?
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Jul 25 2013, 8:19pm

Post #1 of 28 (1614 views)
Owning-up time: Who here cried when Gandalf fell? Can't Post

This, for me, is by far the most memorable moment of both Tolkien's books and PJ's films.

I just remember sitting down with my parents aged seven, watching this "film they thought I would like". Turned out the film (the books I read later on), shaped a large amount of my life. Gandalf came on screen and in the space of two hours I grew to love this character more and more: I didn't know why, but he connected with me in a way that no other fictional character had done before, and even aged seven I was able to understand the wisdom in his words-a character so mystical and yet so human. I'd always been intrigued by wizards and magic (as many young boys are), but Gandalf as a character spoke to me on an entirely different level.

...And then he fell. I could not believe it. I felt completely and utterly crushed. The weight of his sacrifice emphasized through the power of Shore's music, combined with the emotions of the actors was too much for me. For better or worse, I've cried more for Gandalf than I have cried for any family member.

Of course, then he came back, and I was more than over the moon. But even when I read that passage in the book, after seeing the film, the tears came streaming down my face. I've never felt quite that way again.

Did anyone else here ever feel that way about Gandalf's fall, either when reading about it or watching it?

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."-Gandalf

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Jul 25 2013, 8:25pm)


Jul 25 2013, 9:50pm

Post #2 of 28 (1060 views)
I May Have [In reply to] Can't Post

I sometimes do but it's when seeing the Fellowship cry about it in the movie. here's another question: after seeing AUJ does his death have more impact for you?

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Jul 26 2013, 12:14am

Post #3 of 28 (1044 views)
I did in the book, but not in the movie. [In reply to] Can't Post

The only movie scene that brings tears to my eyes (well actually, I outright cry) is the Ride of the Rohirrim. "Death! Death!"

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

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Jul 26 2013, 8:41am

Post #4 of 28 (1009 views)
Oh yes, definitely [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course having read all the books has given the death more of an impact, though I've read the books and seen the films so many times over the years that it's all fairly normal now.

Gandalf as portrayed by McKellen just keeps getting better as a character the more we see him, in my opinion. It was good to see a bit more of the wandering conjuror side of Gandalf on screen in AUJ, i.e. the bits of his character that are hinted at the beginning of FotR. The Good Morning scene, along with other parts such as the exchange between him and Dori over wine, demonstrated a much lighter side of his personality which is mostly absent from LotR (although there is a fair bit of it in FotR). Of course, he also had moments of being the guardian of Middle-earth (such as the White Council scene), and sagacious moments evocative of the exchange between him and Frodo in Moria-I like the fact that Gandalf's words prevent Bilbo from killing Gollum in the film, an act which ultimately saves Middle-earth.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."-Gandalf

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Jul 26 2013, 8:42am)


Jul 26 2013, 10:32am

Post #5 of 28 (1029 views)
so many tears [In reply to] Can't Post

some for joy some for sorrow.


Jul 28 2013, 1:18pm

Post #6 of 28 (963 views)
Even though I knew it was coming... [In reply to] Can't Post

I was devastated when he fell and with the aftermath of the Fellowship. The music, the body language, the tears... devastating. Cripes, I'm tearing up just sitting here thinking about it.

HOWEVER, that fall led to one of the BEST openings to a film I've ever seen with for TT. *goosebumps* Yep... there's the awe again... just thinking about it.

Gad I love these films!

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Jul 28 2013, 3:40pm

Post #7 of 28 (940 views)
Made me jump a bit when I read that bit Gramma! [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To

HOWEVER, that fall led to one of the BEST openings to a film I've ever seen with for TT. *goosebumps*

Because that's exactly the words I use when I describe it or think about it! SmileCool

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Jul 28 2013, 6:09pm

Post #8 of 28 (936 views)
I did cry when I first read the book, many, many years ago. [In reply to] Can't Post

of course, I knew he was coming back when the movies came out. But that didn't stop me from tearing up--it was so well done.

Permanent address: Into the West


Jul 28 2013, 11:56pm

Post #9 of 28 (922 views)
Sniffles [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a guy, and we're not supposed to cry, but I'll admit I came pretty dang close when I saw the movie in the theater. It's silly, because I'd read the books repeatedly and had no doubt that he really died, but it didn't matter. The whole sequence is handled brilliantly, and it still whacks me in the face every time I watch it. I just about lose it when I see Merry & Pippin lying on the ground clutching each other in tears, probably because they've been irrepressibly jolly and carefree up to this point.

Rather oddly, Frodo's tear-streaked face doesn't do anything for me, and it never seems wholly authentic. The book-Frodo found Sam crying next to him as they ran for their lives, then Frodo realized he was crying too. You can't project Frodo's thoughts that way in a movie, of course, but if it weren't for M&P, I'm not sure I'd feel the grief the same way. The other actors contribute too, of course. Aragorn may be stoic about it, but you can sense the mourning in him. It's a great part of the movie that does justice to Gandalf's character.


Jul 29 2013, 12:08am

Post #10 of 28 (913 views)
*raises hand* [In reply to] Can't Post

That still did, does, and will always make me cry. The despair on the Fellowship's faces really do it, too. And the music...

Ugh, I'm getting a little teary thinking about it, lol.Crazy Cool

Gandalf also speaks to me in a way that, really, no other character does. I love how he has been portrayed, and will cherish all adaptations dearly.


Jul 29 2013, 4:38am

Post #11 of 28 (921 views)
I did [In reply to] Can't Post

I still do now. Blush


Jul 29 2013, 9:57am

Post #12 of 28 (894 views)
Hey Nimloth - long time no see! :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post



Jul 29 2013, 7:03pm

Post #13 of 28 (913 views)
Not really. [In reply to] Can't Post

My first reaction was mystification. "Why did he just let go?"

Having the Balrog actually drag him down by the whip twisted around his ankles would have made much more sense.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

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Jul 29 2013, 8:38pm

Post #14 of 28 (913 views)
Um... actually... [In reply to] Can't Post

... I was so terribly tired the first time, I watched FotR, that by the time Gandalf fell I really only ever cared about my bed.
Note to self: do not watch a three-hour-movie with friends when you got up at 5am (on a weekend, mind), did sport all day, and only just came back home at about 7pm when your friends invite you over. I was hardly able to keep my eyes open. Thank God, aforementioned friends made me watch the other two movies as well (this time a lot more awake). I might not ever have ended up as a fan, otherwise. All I remembered about FotR was that I tried to watch a really long movie that didn't make much sense to my tired mind.

(This post was edited by Misto on Jul 29 2013, 8:38pm)

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Jul 30 2013, 4:19am

Post #15 of 28 (899 views)
I can't say he's made me cry ... during that sequence... [In reply to] Can't Post

but during the Grey Havens (book/movie a like) I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of loss (in a good way). Gandalf just has that way of making the most disheartening feel most uplifting of all. Smile

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"You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain."


Jul 30 2013, 9:50pm

Post #16 of 28 (867 views)
When I first saw it, [In reply to] Can't Post

I was too little to understand, but now I do cry a little.

Aunt Dora Baggins

Jul 30 2013, 10:46pm

Post #17 of 28 (876 views)
Not then, but a little later [In reply to] Can't Post

when the hobbits are grieving and Aragorn is trying to get them up. I'm always susceptible to other people's grief.

"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

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Jul 31 2013, 3:06pm

Post #18 of 28 (866 views)
Plus the visuals and music of that scene are just wrenching. [In reply to] Can't Post

That piercing almost keening solo is one of my favorite (of many many favorite) bits in the soundtrack.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


Aug 1 2013, 9:00pm

Post #19 of 28 (845 views)
I think Gandalf realises he has to let go to fight the Balrog [In reply to] Can't Post

That isn't the case in the book, obviously, seeing as he has no choice but to be dragged down to the depths. No matter what, Gandalf has to defeat that Balrog. It would have re-emerged on Sauron's side later on.


Aug 2 2013, 12:10pm

Post #20 of 28 (822 views)
A short history of my reactions :) [In reply to] Can't Post

The very first time I watched FOTR, when Gandalf fell, I was so stunned, I don't even know if I cried. But then when I was in the phase of watching the films over & over again, I would cry at this scene. Then when I got to the phase of having watched them so many times I no longer cried at this (and other) scenes, I knew it was time to take a break from watching the films. Even though I still discussed them on the boards here, I didn't watch them for quite a while. Then after *not* watching the films for a very long time (several months, maybe a year), I watched them again and found that I cried all over again.

The solo piece here, and the way the reactions of the various characters are shown are just so beautifully done, and so sad. It starts before they even emerge into the sunlight - I start crying when I see the expression on Aragorn's face and in his eyes, when he keeps looking back at the chasm, wanting to go back and finally having to flee. That look in his eyes gets to me every time. Then when they are outside crying, and Frodo is stumbling off somewhere as if he doesn't know or care where, when he turns he looks so childlike, it brings to my mind that he's lost his parents, he's lost Bilbo, and now he's lost Gandalf. *tears*

So, yes I did cry and I find that when I go long stretches without watching it, I tear up all over again.

Thank you for sharing your own history with the films. I am so amazed that at the age of seven, you could appreciate them! When your parents thought you might like them, they must have seen that you were already a wise and perceptive little wizard yourself, even at that young age :-).


Aug 2 2013, 6:21pm

Post #21 of 28 (792 views)
Thank you also for sharing yours :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

Being such a massive fan of the books and films, I love to hear about the effect that Tolkien's work (in the general sense of that phrase) has had on people's lives and how it has shaped their perceptions/views.

Thank you also for your kind words in the last paragraph of your post. Truly you are too kind! Blush

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."-Gandalf

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Aug 2 2013, 6:27pm)


Aug 2 2013, 7:48pm

Post #22 of 28 (818 views)
When I read it, stunned silence, but no tears. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was 11, and I remember thinking, that couldn't possibly have just happened. I was completely shocked. Kudos to my Tolkien fanatic mom who never let it slip, so I had no idea it was coming, or that the return was coming later. (Even more impressive given that Gandalf is her favorite character, and it never came up.)

Before kids, exercising with LOTR meant listening to the soundtrack while I ran.

After kids, exercising with LOTR means having an all out dance party with the little ones to the "Break the Dam Release the River" disco mix form the Lego game.


Aug 8 2013, 5:32pm

Post #23 of 28 (734 views)
I was 10 then [In reply to] Can't Post

So yah, stunned, angry tears came. I'd never read the books before, so I didn't see it coming. And I agree completely with what CuriousG said

When you have Bilbo as your best friend, there're two phrases I personally like to use:
"It's you & me against the world Buddy. We attack at dawn."
"Come Burglar Boy, to the Hobbitmobile!" *ki-click*

*Insert Hero Theme Music Here

Ziggy Stardust

Aug 9 2013, 1:09am

Post #24 of 28 (741 views)
Stunned [In reply to] Can't Post

When I first saw the films, and saw Gandalf fall, I was stunned. I think my reaction was the same as the Fellowship's.

Registered User

Aug 13 2013, 9:04pm

Post #25 of 28 (706 views)
I did indeed cry, both reading and watching! [In reply to] Can't Post

The moment in the film is very well handled I think. I love all of the different reactions of the others-Aragorn trying to hold the group together even though he is clearly devastated, Boromir's sympathy towards the others ("Give them a moment, for pity's sake!"), Legolas' look of disbelief, the outright tears of Sam, Merry, Gimli and Pippin, and the heart-wrenching cries from Frodo. This moment, coupled with Ian McKellen's performance, really do justice to the Grey Wizard.

"He's one of them Rangers, dangerous folk they are wandering in the wild."-Barliaman Butterbur

(This post was edited by Madril on Aug 13 2013, 9:06pm)

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